Rabbit, Run

The first (to be annual) Dennis P. Sampson Community 5k was this past Saturday, June 22nd.  When the flyer made its way to me several weeks ago, I immediately signed up.  In fact, my bib was #16 – I was well within the first batch of registrants.  This 5k was challenging for a variety of reasons, and most trying (for me) was the social aspect of the event.  Perhaps I have alluded to my discomfort in social situations and my overall and constant state of shyness, but I do not remember having detailed the extent to which I experience my introvertedness.

In my newfound resolution to celebrate the modest wins in life and not focus on my perceived losses / failures, I am not ashamed to share that my finish time was 34:34, according to my Fitbit.  Unfortunately, my phone dropped from 100% battery life to 17% in a matter of mere minutes.  Therefore, I did not dare utilize Strava, though I delight in the map the app produces based on my activity.  By the time the opening ceremony was over, I was clinging to hope and praying that I would have just enough battery to allow me music for the run!  Though my overall time was not at its usual, my first mile was 9:36, and therein lies my win!  I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos, but I bestow some of the credit upon myself.

With any first event, there are likely going to be kinks.  I noticed a few said crimps because they were applicable to the run specifically: a). confusion regarding the location of the starting line, b). the lack of a countdown, and c). no indication that the cue to begin was a siren.  Now, for many, a siren sounding off is likely an obvious segway between sedentariness and  activity.  However, my office is stationed in a police department – sirens are background noise.  I learned years ago to stage in the middle of the pack – not with the rabbits, nor with the turtles.  This weekend, I was with the rabbits due to a, b, and c.  Hence why I wrote, “I have never reached a sub-10:00 mile!  I can partially attribute this feat to chaos [ . . . ].”

*Saturday was the 10th annual Poland Spring Heritage Day, the run component was brandy new this year.*

My unfamiliarity with a new course is detrimental to my overall finish time; any time that I run a new race, my time tends to be slower than my norm.  This course was one of the most unique I have ever run.  I traveled to the Poland Spring Resort expecting a road race, but the terrain was very varied.  Knowing the terrain is essential in a successful run (success being up to interpretation).  Next year, I know just what I am contending with: pavement, mud, loose gravel, packed gravel, grass, woods / trails, and even a few stairs.  I anticipate my time will be less, on this course, this time next year.

Success, by my definition and the expectations I have for myself, are simple: 1). just do it and 2). finish.  In talking with Mum, she commented on how proud she is of me, if for no reason other than simply being present at various events.  Just three or four years ago, I would not stray from her side while shopping in a store, nor would I have ever conceived running publicly by myself.  In fact, when I first began perusing the multitude of 5Ks one may join, I would not register for one if a friend or acquaintance was not also going to be in attendance, even if I really wanted to give it a go.  On Friday night, Mum noticed that I was tense because I was going to be going it alone on Saturday, but I went and I did it and I finished.  Granted, because I was uncomfortable socially, I scampered off and headed home almost immediately after I crossed the finish line, despite how many activities there were to enjoy.

My social discomfort was not so much due to the number of people present that I did not know, but the number of people there that I did know.  As novice as I am in appropriate small talk, I am even poorer at “catching up” small talk.  Observation: strangers respect the RBF and tend to leave me to my stretching and mental preparation; people who previously knew me are seemingly oblivious to my social cues.  I am fortunate in that though I do contend with social anxiety, I am able to confront it.  I will never be mistaken for an extrovert, but I am making strides at being less of a wallflower.  In fact, when I reflect on myself now, it is difficult to remember just how timorous I once was.

I am not quite where I would like to be (goal weight, running ability, social agility, etc.), and I have been so focused on the end goal(s), that I have forgotten to take stock in how far I have come.  The journey seems far longer when we do not look at the route and evaluate how far we have already traveled along it.

 

 

 

 

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Chutzpa! (It’s a Fun Word, and I Used It In a Sentence)

Q:  Oh, my dear, neglected blog, will you ever forgive me for temporarily abandoning you?

A: YES ’cause I don’t really give a shit that you’ve been away, but now that you’re back . . . Hey, girl!  Whatcha been up to?


I have the tendency, as a human being, to be what is best described as . . . overzealous.  I have very little free time as it is, and I choose to fill what free time I do have with . . . what is best described as . . . a lot.  In the past few months, I have gained traction at becoming even further behind with responding to pen pal letters.  In fact, I have not written a response letter since April.  I have zero traveling postcards via Postcrossing.  I have not picked up my knitting needles, flute, or guitar.  I have read less books in 2018 than in past years, and I have been writing only half-hearted (Goodreads) reviews, if I write one at all.  My gym time has dwindled, and I have not written, what I would consider a decent blog entry, in months.  Recently (recently as in just a handful of hours ago), I gave myself permission to give up some control.  Let me explain . . .

I love swap-bot; I run several groups, and I host a lot of swaps within said groups.  In addition to those swaps, I also host public swaps.  Without getting too in depth and too involved in the swap-bot jargon, being a founder and a host takes A LOT of work.  Frankly, if it doesn’t take a lot of your time and energy, then you’re probably not doing it right.  There are exceptions, I’m sure, which is why I have written “‘probably’ not doing it right” (or at the very least, not to the best of your ability).  Swap-bot, because I manage many groups and many swaps, and because I take deadlines very seriously, has been taking up the majority of my limited time.  I love devoting time to putting together quality swaps and creating happy mail, sending RAKs, etc., but the constant hosting and management responsibilities is a prime example of my overzealousness.  Note to self: just enjoy swap-bot, Amy, without taking on additional tasks.

I have missed so much all of the other things that provide me with a well-rounded and happy life.  So, I’ve reached out for assistance with hosting and founding my groups.  That is a big step in beginning to enjoy my multitude of hobbies again, albeit not the first one.  I have also decided that I will maintain X number of pen pal relationships.  I do not need 50+ pen pals to deem this a worthwhile hobby.  In fact, much like my IRL relationships, I much prefer to maintain a few very close and meaningful connections over double-digit acquaintances.  I will continue to send postcards via Postcrossing, but it is OKay to have a handful traveling at a time; I do not need to sit and send 25+ in one sitting.  I will continue to organize my favorite postcards into category specific albums, but I no longer feel the need to scan them into Flikr as well.  Overall, I am working on reigning in my overeagerness and proneness to do ev-er-y-thing full boar; moderation is key, even in regards to the undertakings I love and enjoy.

The first step I took to ensure a newfound commitment to creativity and creating . . . I cleaned my “home office” and my craft room.  My, what I also refer to as workspaces, were beyond cluttered.  I found it nearly impossible to focus on anything, let alone follow through with a hobby task (writing, knitting, reading, painting, whatever it may be), with supplies scattered on the floors, piles of stuff scattered about, half started projects stacked upon one another and set aside, etc.  So, during my much needed staycation last week, I got my spaces squared away.  Gone is the anxiety I previously felt when I would tackle these particular cleaning and organizational tasks, attempting to get the job(s) done, all at once.  Now, when I open the door to either of the me time rooms, I feel exhilarated to be in there, ready to sit at my desk to write a letter or a postcard, able to find the extras I want to include in an outgoing swap, and capable of focusing on whatever venture my heart desires.  Speaking of (errr, writing about) other ventures and my heart’s desire . . .

With the (work) gym closed, my training and efforts to workout have taken a downturn.  I am fortunate in that I have a well equipped gym in my attached garage / basement, but I certainly need to work on the discipline aspect of using it.  I have grown so accustomed to busting out an amazing workout before noon, which is ideal for me because the workout is done for the day, and I can devote my post work hours to the other adulting that must be done.  However, there was once a time when I only used my home gym; I was once willing to put myself first, before all else, and I need to tap into that energy again, guilt free.  Although I have not been logging the gym hours that I normally do as of late, snow shoveling and construction on my rental unit have at least kept my stamina on point.

As of yesterday, I am officially registered for 2019’s Maine (half) marathon.  I have also decided that when the application becomes available, I will be applying to be a 2019 race ambassador.  (Here we go with the overzealousness again!).  However, I made my decision to (definitely) apply for the ambassadorship in October, exactly a month from today, actually.  On October 28th, I ran in the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff 5-Miler in New York City!  Since I was sporting my 2018 Maine Marathon shirt, multiple people approached me and asked about the Maine Marathon.  I was considering applying for an ambassadorship before this date, mainly because I envision myself as a valuable resource in that I can put others at ease.  In anticipation of my first half marathon, I was terrified and nervous and jittery on top of excited and proud.  I’m a classic, “If I can do it, you can too!” example, and I sense that I have the ability to motivate, encourage, and calm others who may be skeptical or hard on themselves.

BUT . . . more about New York City!  For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@idiosyncratic_unicorn), you have likely already seen my gushing post, brimming with pride in myself, as well as excitement at meeting Peter Ciaccia.  Briefly, I was so so so SO very proud of myself for doing this run.  Much like my IG post reads, my delight was mainly because I ran in an out-of-state event.   When I first started entering 5Ks, I never anticipated that I would have the chutzpa to do one alone, let alone in another state.  I also never imagined that I would increase my distance from the 5K, but oh, how I have evolved as a runner!  Running has been so positive for me, not only in regards to my health and physical appearance, but in my overall confidence (not related to body image but related to my shyness).

I have gone from whether or not a friend is running with me as a determining factor for race entry, to participating in whatever the heck race I want to.  When you are as shy, introverted, and introspective as I am, it is daunting to go it alone.  I was also pleased beyond measure because I ran this particular 5-miler in under an hour, walking only to drink water (I’m not coordinated enough to run and drink without choking), and I stopped briefly for a photo with Peter Ciaccia.  Approaching (and taking a picture with) someone I have never met before – also giant strides that required a lot of prowess on my behalf.  SO, it is these experiences that solidified my decision at becoming (or trying to become) a Maine Marathon ambassador.  I think this program will not only benefit me but benefit from me.  For those of you who do not follow my IG, I’ve thrown in some pictures from the NYC Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff at the end.

Suffice it to say, I do suppose that I am on the correct path to eliminating undue stress and anxiety in my daily routine, all the while rediscovering time management and diversity in my efforts.

Cicciarun2run

 

 

 

QOTD 08/22

It has been on my agenda to begin an ongoing “Quote of the Day” (QOTD) entry.  Originally, I was going to create one post and simply add to it each day, but I do think each quote deserves its own glory.  I will not provide backstory or context, not initially.  I will provide only the quote, entirely out of context, for you to bask in all of its grandeur.

So, for anyone who is already keenly aware of where I work, what I do, etc., it is likely no surprise that I hear, overhear, and read a lot of comments that can be described as just . . . absolutely fantastical.  This is not to imply that I will be sharing only quotes from work; my ears are listening to all of those majestic witticisms out there in the world.

So, the kickoff QOTD:

I was promised bitches.

 

 

But Am I For Really Real?

A fleeting thought as I sit at my desk . . .

If I update my blog while I’m working, am I technically being paid to blog?  If so, does this make me a “real” blogger?

I have the tendency to downplay every. single. thing. I do or am involved in, whether it’s professionally, athletically, or even pertaining to my hobbies.  I delineate a “real” blogger as an individual who is either paid to write or has a large following.  I consider and describe myself as an amateur blogger, which is accurate because:

noun

  1. a person who engages in a pursuit [ . . . ] on an unpaid basis.

adjective

  1. engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional.

 

However, does being a dilettante in a given element make the dabbler or their participation any less “real” in comparison with those who have garnered more experience?

When I am recognized for working at the police department, I am often asked if I’m an officer, and my response is typically, “I’m just a crime analyst.”  When I have spoken fondly of a colleague who is a fellow long distance runner, I have, on more than one occasion, stated, “But Sandy’s a real runner.”

I have a habit of devaluing myself; it is a behavior that I regularly exhibit, but I have recently begun to notice just how prominent this trait is.  During an afternoon stroll with Leola, a co-worker who I have befriended over the years, I discussed with her exactly what I have drafted above.  “That’s a character flaw.  You don’t have many, but that’s one of them.  You can quote me in your blog.”

So, today marks the day that I attempt to alter the impression of myself I have left on . . . ME.  I’m a real blogger.  I’m a real runner.  I’m not just anything.  I’m real because I’m present, I’m trying, I’m doing.

download

 

Soul searching is onerous.

Ocular Ode

There are days that I yearn to write; I crave the process, yet I’m seemingly uninspired.  I took a moment to Google search journal prompts, and I stumbled upon 52 Weeks of Self-Discovery Prompts  for Your Bullet Journal.  Granted, this isn’t my bullet journal (yet another task I’ve been meaning to start / try), but perhaps relying on a prompt will satisfy my desire to write.  Self-discovery is not a bad path to meander along sporadically.

What is your favorite physical characteristic (face or body)?  Describe a time you felt proud of that feature.

As mentioned in a previous post entitled I LOVE ME: Mission #1, my eyes are my favorite physical characteristic, at least facially.  Body wise, I think my answer could be my legs.  But I digress . . .

At the ripe ol’ age of 12ish, maybe 13 . . . You know, those middle school years and that age when one learns and experiences that other children are mean . . . I was taunted incessantly for having such large eyes.  I do believe (and by “I do believe,” I mean, I totally know and remember) being called “Bug Eyes.”  Even at that age, I was well aware that my eyes were a focal point of my appearance, but I do not remember in what capacity other than being deemed the eyes of bug.

They’re my eyes; they’re blue and they’re allegedly big, but they’re all I’ve ever known so I do not see them as being particularly large.  <~~~ This was my perception and thought process then, and I maintain it to this day, to some degree.  Hindsight is oftentimes 20 /20, as they say, and yeah, they’re of considerable size, but I’m not twinning with a tarsier!  Tarsiers are adorable, btw.

tarsier

*Image obtained from: animals-zone.com

In 1999, my Gramps passed.  He and I were close, and I will forever mourn his death when there are milestones in my life that he is not present for; I think he’d be proud of me.  And no, I am not going off on an entirely unrelated tangent – I always loop it around, just wait for it.  When my Gramps died, I was crushed, and I handled my grief as many angsty pre-teens and teenagers do – I became aloof and introspective.  I don’t remember crying because ultimately, I wanted to be strong for my Mum.  However, it was at my Gramps’s funeral that the damn dam broke, and I let many a tear fall.  The trigger?  In looking at Grampy’s picture, I realized and said to my cousin sitting beside me, “I have his eyes.”  It was at that singular moment that I knew that my eyes are special, and I chose to not only embrace my eyes but to love them, even when others teased and taunted.  After all, there was not, is not, and nor has there ever been anything amiss regarding my peepers.

Not only do I love my eyes, I think that they are pretty, and I feel OKay in admitting so.  I think that self-love has been too closely associated with vanity, and as a result of such, I find myself afraid to admit that I find an aspect of myself as beautiful.  I doubt I am alone in this idea.  Self-love defined:

“regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).”

So, a moment that I felt particularly proud of my eyes . . .

In 2014, my eyes were tattooed on a man’s leg.  I have never met this man, and he lives approximately 3,087 miles from Maine, in London, England.  So, how did my eyes end up on a complete stranger’s limb?  Via my old and now abandoned Instagram account, I followed a London tattoo artist.  In the past, I had commissioned a drawing, done by this artist, as a gift to a (now former) friend and colleague.  Many months later, I was advised that he had a customer who had requested a tattoo of eyes, and he used one of my photos to fulfill said customer’s request.

tatt

There is absolutely no doubt that those are my eyes in this tattoo.  Though I don’t often reminisce about the stranger permanently marked with my oculars, when I do think about it, I feel remarkably flattered and momentarily brim with confidence.

I LOVE ME: Mission #1

Full disclosure: I stole the title.  The I LOVE ME: Mission #1 is a swap that I am currently participating in via swap-bot.  It’s a lovely idea, but it also saddened me that it was so difficult to complete once I sat down to do so.  The gist of the swap is to write a notecard length letter to one partner with a list of five things that I like about myself.  I have yet to write my notecard out, but I brought the supplies to work with me so I can complete it during a break.  The ideas floating around in my head for my five likes:

  • My drive, particularly regarding my goals and aspirations
    • No matter how extensive or how minor my goal may be, I give 100%.  That’s not to say it doesn’t take me a long time to achieve my goals, but I don’t have an ounce of quit in me, despite obstacles along the journey, once I set my sights on something.
  • My unruly, curly hair
    • If I get caught in a rainstorm or windstorm, no one is able to tell that I’m having a bad hair day due to my hair’s natural unruliness.  In fact, my hair is a barometer; I know what the weather is doing even when I can’t see outside, especially when it’s humid!
  • My laugh
    • From what I can tell, my laugh is infectious.  I’ve been known to make others laugh just because I am laughing so hard.
  • I’m fastidious about leg shaving
    • Enough said
  • My eyes
    • They’re big and probably the best example of loving myself despite others’ negativity.  I remember, in middle school, being called “bug eyes” incessantly.  Joke’s on you, you cruel children, ’cause when I traveled to NYC, people were stopping me in the streets complimenting my eyes.

I wonder if the 11 other people who joined this swap also struggled to compose their lists.  If the swap required a list of don’t likes, I’d probably be 100 in by now, and I don’t think that is unique to just me . . .

 

Why Write?

So, why start a blog now?  It’s a question I have been asking myself since I’m a serial blog starter.  I’m fantastic with the good intentions, but I dwindle when it comes to the follow through.  In order to understand how I can be successful in maintaining a blog, I have had to soul search and analyze what keeps me from doing so.

First, I get hung up on writing style, grammar, punctuation, so on and so forth.  I am letting that go.  I am going to write how I think, just put ME on virtual paper.  I’ve reminded myself, and I undoubtedly will need to continue to remind myself, that I’m not attempting to publish a professional piece of writing; I’m merely trying to connect with others who are on the same journey that I am.  I want to connect with those who are struggling with taking the first step of their journey.  I want to connect with others who have stumbled along their way.  I want to connect with people who have had nothing but the utmost success.  I just want to connect, and so, to do so, I’m letting go of my need to be “perfect,” to write perfectly, that drive to abide by all of the literary rules.  I want my blog to be a place where I can be candid, open, and just ME, not bound by any confines, even those that I have set for myself.  I am the one that puts myself in the box, and I know it.

Second, I always write thinking about my audience, even when I do not have one.  In order to be successful in keeping this blog, I am accepting that it is perfectly acceptable to do it just for me.  Write because I want to write.  I have spent the majority of my life doing for others.  It’s who I am.  I am a giver – giver of gifts, giver of myself, whatever I can possibly muster to give to someone else, I do.

Finally, my own accountability and motivation are worth the effort.  Daily, I spend the majority of my time in my own head, my own thoughts.  I have come to the realization that I am not learning from my mistakes, my bad days, by letting these thoughts just roll around and bump along in my head.  My fear of writing about my bad days (food fails, lack of exercise, no “fox” left to give) is that it will make the bad days ever more real.  Well, the trips and stumbles are just as real, even when they are merely jostled about in my own brain, yet I am not learning from them.  The missteps are important strides along the path to success, and I will no longer hide them, not even from myself.  I am the very first person to tell others NOT to give up, that stumbles along the way are OKay, and that tomorrow is a new day, an opportunity to try again.

Epiphany: I do not afford myself the same kindness that I invest in others.

Goal: I will learn to be kind to myself, for I am worthy of the same kindness I bestow upon others.